Chardonnay is planted in almost every wine-producing region in Australia. Its versatility is such that James Halliday says chardonnay is: “The most malleable and compliant of all the great white wine grapes, giving the impression it would even grow up a telegraph pole in the centre of Sydney or Melbourne and produce a more than half-decent wine.”
Chardonnay can be divisive though, with fans tending to prefer one of the two primary styles – the classic rich, buttery, oak-influenced style, or the one that is lean, citrusy and fresh. In Australian chardonnay today, more wines have found a middle ground, offering the best of both worlds. Celebrate International Chardonnay Day with three such examples below.
Winemaker Kate Morgan says: Vintage 2021 had some challenges however, as an early ripening variety, the chardonnay came up a treat, with lovely acidity and purity of fruit. The Williams’ Block Chardonnay is an absolute pleasure to make as a winemaker; coming from a tucked away little block of vines the fruit is so expressive, powerful yet delicately balanced, and it finds a lovely harmony with the oak.
Best enjoyed: The William’s Block Chardonnay works really well with meatier seafood such as dhufish, scallops or abalone, as they compliment the powerful, yet refined nature of the wine.
RRP $75 | Drink to 2033 | jilyara.com.au
Winemaker David Lowe says: This wine aims to have freshness at its core. To have brightness from varietal flavour coupled with oak makes the wine delicious. I have achieved concentration in this wine without relying on just high alcohol, and as a consequence it doesn’t have to be consumed at super cold temperatures. In fact, it's better at 12 degrees than below 10.
Best enjoyed: This wine is best enjoyed cool, not cold, on a balmy afternoon or in the bright sun on a winter's day, with cheese on biscuits, then onto risotto.
RRP $48 | Drink to 2025 | lowefamilywineco.com.au
Winemaker Adrian Santolin says: This wine is absolute pureness. It's all about the incredible fruit sourced from a single site in the Upper Yarra Valley. We keep the winemaking as minimal as possible to create a wine that showcases the absolute uniqueness of the site. The fruit is handpicked, fermented wild, aged in carefully selected barrels to enhance (not overpower) the unique flavours we see from this site, and it’s not fined.
Best enjoyed: Best served cool, not cold (around 10 degrees) and is a beautiful partner to dishes such as garlic marinated feta on warm, toasted sourdough or pan fried John Dory with a garlic lemon butter.
RRP $45 | Drink to 2030 | santolinwines.com.au